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Title: The authority of the dead among the living in Republican Rome : a rhetorical analysis of Cicero's oratory
Author: Brooke, E. G.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2010
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This dissertation focuses upon the role of ancestors and of the dead in the speeches of Cicero, in order to explore the ways in which Rome’s past could be made central to public discourse, and could be manipulated in order to guarantee or provide for a particular outcome in legal or political situations. The object of this study is to fill a niche in the current state of research relating to Roman treatments of their city’s history, and the ways that history might maintain or be made to play a role in political and social life. Chapter 1 provides a Ciceronian definition of the term maiores / mos maiorum and its varying connotations, examining the evidence of the speeches as to its chronological and ideological applicability. Chapter 2 offers a ‘standard narrative’ of ancestry as a rhetorical device in Cicero, working from two early speeches to demonstrate its pervasiveness and isolate its recurring features. Alongside this, Chapter 3 provides an account of how the dead are made to appear in court through Cicero’s employment of the concept evocatio ab inferis, and the repeated features of this parallel device. This leads into a fourth chapter on the complexities of using both ancestry and the dead as part of a speech, and provides illustration of the kinds of counter-effects an opponent might have been likely to employ. Chapter 5 examines the language of novitas as an alternative means of engaging with ancestry and establishing a place in history. It moves from a close analysis of the term novus and its cognates to analysis of its deployment in the Verrine corpus, and the consequences of this for readings of later Ciceronian speeches. This is developed in a final chapter on Ciceronian self-presentation through his own exemplary singularity, and the means by which he makes of himself a potential exemplum and hence potential ancestor for posterity, even before his death.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available